Johns Hopkins Structural Biologist Among 125 Elected to National Academy of Sciences


Cynthia Wolberger, Ph.D., a structural biologist who unravels how cells use chemical tags to turn genes on and off, is among 125 scientists newly elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Membership recognizes achievement in science. The organization—with the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council—also provides science, technology and health policy advice to the federal government and organizations.

Wolberger, a professor of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, studies proteins that pack DNA into a bundle within a cell and how special tags, called ubiquitins, are attached to these proteins and help turn genes on or off. She develops 3D models to study in much finer detail the cellular machinery that controls DNA packaging, revealing how the process may go awry in human disease and potential pathways to develop drugs that can correct the process. She was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Two other Johns Hopkins University faculty members are also among the 100 new National Academy of Sciences members: Marc Kamionkowski, Ph.D. — the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy — and Robert Moffitt, Ph.D., the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics. Twenty-five foreign associates were elected to the academy as well.